Delta State Government on Tuesday lamented the huge revenue loss incurred by the State due to the activities of pipeline vandals.
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa, while speaking with Urhobo Traditional Rulers Council when they paid him a visit in his office in Asaba, urged the people to be more vigilant in securing the oil and gas pipelines in the state.
The governor said that allocations to the state from the Federation Account were always affected when crude oil from the state was wasted due to pipeline vandalism.
He said that the state government lost three million barrels of crude oil as a result of criminals attack on oil pipelines in April alone.
Governor Okowa told the delegation led by its Chairman, HRM Ovie Richard Ogbon, the Ohworode of Olomu Kingdom that the revenue accruing to the state as a result of its oil output would soon reduce.
“As a state, we should be more vigilant against pipeline vandals; they are doing us a lot of disservice.
“We lost in the month of April alone about three million barrels of oil and this will reflect in this July allocation.
“On the issue of derivation, instead of the 11 million barrels that we are supposed to produce as a state for the month of April, we have about eight million barrels.”
Okowa called on the traditional rulers to prevail on their subjects to cooperate with government to ensure the safety of the oil pipelines across the state.
“With the drop in the price of oil, the state cannot even pay its existing workers without overdraft, so is it right to employ more people?
“We must take decision in the best interest of the state without sentiments for the general good of Deltans.”
The governor pledged his administration’s resolve not to operate in secrecy, adding that his government was committed to ensuring fairness, equity and justice in every appointment made in the state.
He used the occasion to charge detractors not to continue but partner with him to build and develop the state.
The governor said that his administration was planning to restructure the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC) and debunked the news making the rounds that his administration was planning to close down the commission.
He said that he was not contemplating closing the Government House Annex in Warri as speculated, adding that such news was spread by some detractor, stressing that the Governor’s Lodge was currently undergoing repairs.
Okowa explained to the traditional rulers that the suspension of the recruited 1,300 employees into the state workforce was due to irregularities in the process of the employment.
“We are not going to do anything in secrecy. In my inaugural speech, we made it clear that we will strengthen DESOPADEC along the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) pattern.
“We want to ensure that we have a structured management system that would not be based on ethnic sentiments.
“I insisted on a public hearing so as to get the people’s views which will enrich the bill before it is passed into law.
“At the end, the will of the people will be considered by the House before the bill is passed into law.
“Governor’s Lodge in Warri is undergoing renovation and the annex remains very important for government activities.
“The process of recruiting the 1, 300 persons who were employed toward the end of the last administration with all sorts of scandal that led to the suspension of the board were wrong.”
The governor said that the end result of a wrong process of recruitment could not be right. “I promise Deltans fairness and justice, I will try to do what is right and just.”
Okowa thanked the traditional rulers for their support for his administration and assured them of government resolved to work with them.
He said that the government had released N4 billion to the contractor for the completion of Sapele Market, stressing that at completion, distribution would be based on equity and fairness.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Ogbon, said that they were at the Government House to felicitate with the governor on his electoral victory and pledged their loyalty and support to the Okowa led administration.